Blunt, Wagner unveil bipartisan, bicameral bill to support housing for trafficking victims

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) recently unveiled bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would require a study and report on the housing and service needs of human trafficking survivors and individuals who are at risk for trafficking. 

“Victims of human trafficking often have unstable housing situations and can be at risk of homelessness,” Rep Wagner said. “This legislation will support survivors at an incredibly vulnerable time in their lives and help ensure they have appropriate and safe housing during their recovery. We have a responsibility to help those in need, especially trafficking survivors who are looking to rebuild their lives and find justice.”

Rep. Wagner on June 15 cosponsored the Trafficking Survivors Housing Act of 2021, H.R. 3891, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), while Sen. Blunt on the same day cosponsored his chamber’s version, S. 2049, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“We can help survivors of human trafficking rebuild their lives by making sure they have access to safe, affordable housing,” Sen. Blunt said. “This bill will help us find solutions on how we can improve housing services and reduce homelessness, which will help protect survivors and address a root cause of this inexcusable crime.

“All of our colleagues should support this bipartisan, bicameral bill that will help ensure trafficking survivors have access to affordable housing and the safe, stable foundation it provides,” added Sen. Blunt.

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Shared Hope International, among many other groups, endorsed the measure. The legislation would require the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to commission the study and report in partnership with federal agencies, survivors and the organizations that serve them on the availability and accessibility of homelessness and housing services for survivors of trafficking, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

The study would review the effectiveness of current policy and procedures and report on the impact of such policies on the ability to provide sustainable, affordable and safe housing options for survivors of trafficking, including families of minor victims and youth in foster care; build on trauma-informed and evidence-based frameworks to assess the capacity of mainstream housing services to meet the distinct and specialized needs of both labor and sex trafficking survivors; and identify barriers to and best practices for meeting the housing and service needs of survivors of trafficking, the summary says.